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Parenting Adolescents Quiz PAQ

  • Note: this is a past research project that is now complete.


    The major aims of the PAQ are to encourage parents to utilise further educational opportunities, to reduce family risk factors associated with adolescent maladjustment, and to enhance family protective factors. The PAQ program is targeted to identify family problems at a school community level. The evening serves as an opportunity for parents of early high school students to socialise and share parenting experiences.

    Project description

    A recent development in parent education at the Centre for Adolescent Health is the Parenting Adolescents Quiz (PAQ). The Quiz has been designed to provide an entertaining "adult-learning" evening where tables of parents can interact in a light-hearted competition to answer a set of questions presented by a quiz-leader. The PAQ questions have been carefully selected to encourage parents to reflect on some of the major issues in adolescent health.

    The PAQ brings parents together in tables of six to eight people for an evening of education and entertainment. Tables respond to a series of multiple-choice questions relevant to adolescent health and parenting adolescents. Parents interact to determine a table response and are then provided with feedback regarding "expert recommendations" and the rationale for such recommendations. Questions are grouped into modules tackling issues such as communicating with adolescents, handling conflict, preventing drug and alcohol problems, and monitoring mental health issues. Answers to the questions are based on best-available current research evidence, including clinical practice. To ensure the night is entertaining, fun modules dealing with youth culture are interspersed throughout the program. These modules also serve to highlight the importance of parents familiarising themselves with their children's interests. To motivate participants, a light-hearted competition is encouraged between tables and fund raising can be organised by the school around the evening. During the PAQ opportunities are provided to actively involve parents in identifying behavioural strategies, creating further modelling of parenting practices. It is believed that the PAQ format might attract some parents who may otherwise not attend a parent information night.

    Educational principles underpinning the PAQ include interactive learning (parental responses are followed by feedback and discussion); and multiple learning mediums (verbal presentations and visuals). The focus of the PAQ is to more widely disseminate information, to demonstrate skills, and to increase the priority placed on parenting in the secondary school years. Through the evening, parents have the opportunity to compare their practices with those of other parents and with professional recommendations. Parents are advised of situations requiring further assistance, and through negotiation with school welfare staff opportunities for such assistance are made available.

    The PAQ has been designed to provide a practical, evidence-based approach to parent education for the parents of secondary school adolescents. The PAQ is currently being trialed in a range of government and non-government schools and has received very positive consumer endorsement from school staff and parents. Evaluation will assess whether or not the implementation of the program realises the expectation of a broad cross-section of parental attendance and engagement.


    Toumbourou, J.W, Gregg, M.E., Davies, L., Carr-Gregg, M. The Parenting Adolescents Quiz: Parent education in early secondary school can be fun. Journal of the Health Education Association of Victoria, 1999: Spring Edition: 6-9.


    John Toumbourou